A few of team Simpleweb enjoying a drink by the river

When we invite people in for an interview, they’ve generally already got the right skills (why else would they be there?), but there is another trait that we look for to make sure we make the best hiring decisions…

Recently, we put out a job advert looking for developers. We’ve used a similar job description for a while now, but last time we posted it, a couple of people pointed out that one particular sentence might be letting us down…

We work normal office hours but it’s quite common for the team to be hacking away on something cool gone home time… you will need to be of the same developer mentality.

Now, reading that back in isolation, I can understand how it doesn’t sound great. “Hmm extra unpaid work – no thanks, I like having time for life outside the office” said one person via Twitter, and I really can understand her concern.

We’ve changed the sentence since, as we wanted to make it clear that we never expect anyone to do unpaid work. Here’s what we say now…

Our developers love what they do and it’s quite common for them to be hacking away on their own projects when they’re not at work. We hope you have the same developer mentality.

While we’ve rephrased the sentence to clear up any concerns over unpaid work, our sentiment has remained the same…

It’s important to us that our developers are really enthusiastic about what they do.

Before I talk about why enthusiasm is so important to us I want to explain what we mean by “the same developer mentality”…

What do we mean by the developer mentality?

Our team genuinely love what they do. They arrange and/or go to local meetups to share knowledge, they enjoy the odd hackathon, they read tech blogs, go to conferences and build cool stuff because it’s their hobby.

We don’t expect our team to spend all, or even most, of their free time “being a developer”, but if they’re not interested in tech outside of work, that indicates to us that they don’t love what they do. So why is that important…?

Why does it matter?

We recently wrote about our project approach; 7 principles that ensure that we meet and exceed clients’ expectations. We’ve been honing our project approach since we started up back in 2006 and our principles are the result of nearly 10 years experience creating digital products for clients.

There’s two particular principles that rely heavily on having a team of developers who really care…

Treat every project as it were our own

When we work on a project with a client, the whole team needs to really get to know that client. I’m not just talking about the tech; the team need to understand the client’s business, what they’re trying to achieve and how they’re planning on doing it. To deliver on that promise we make to our clients, it’s absolutely key that we have a development team who truly care about what they do.

Happiness is the key to success

We believe the key to a successful project is finding the right balance between client happiness, team happiness and cash flow. We like to do nice things for our team but ultimately, if they’re not enthusiastic about what they do, they’re not going to be happy, and if they’re not happy, we’re not succeeding. No amount of fun days out, trips to Amsterdam or sandwiches and cake is going to make them happy if they don’t love being a developer.

The developer mentality in action

Simpleweb developer Steve co-organises the PHP South West meetup, and Adam co-organises BristolJS. Everyone’s excited to chip in when we organise a Rails Girls event or a Simpleweb Challenge hack night. Our team are genuinely excited about what they do, and they’re active in the Bristol tech community because they love it.

At the end of the day, we’re looking for developers who are enthusiastic about our clients’ projects (and our own projects) and are happy in what they do. We believe these two things are key to developing successful products.

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